Theologian Thursday: Gregory of Nyssa (335?-395?)

Added on by Keegan Osinski.
 (image from here)
Gregory of Nyssa was St. Basil's younger brother. His upbringing is therefore very similar to Basil's and also to Gregory of Nazianzus--privileged, well-traveled, and well-educated. While he is not considered a Doctor of the Church, he was a bishop, and his writings have been influential in academic discourse regarding the Trinity and the "uncreated" nature of God.

Most of his trinitarian theology, not surprisingly, aligns closely with that of the other Cappadocians and their idea of the social trinity--that the three ὑποστάσεις (hypostases/persons) of the Trinity exist as one in a deeply unifying and ontologically significant bond of mutual love. His other works include many homilies (for example, "Treatise on the Work of the Six Days," which mirrors Basil's Hexameron), and works on the Christian life and holiness. In line with his influence from Origen, much of his theology is based on the infinite and uncreated nature of God and universal salvation--that all humanity has been assumed by the Son and therefore redeemed.

OK--Here's the best part. HIS RELICS LIVE IN SAN DIEGO! While writing this post, I found out that St. Gregory of Nyssa Greek Orthodox Church in El Cajon has them/it (still unsure what exactly the relic is... I think it's a jawbone?). Super cool! I might try to go check it out sometime.

What you should read:
Ratings:
(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)
Gender Equality:
Gregory was big on the idea of humanity being the image of God, in that humans are free and spiritual beings (he followed Origen in this, except that Origen believed in pre-existent souls and Gregory believed souls were created at the same moment the body was). With all of his emphasis on the nous of people, and their spiritual being, I didn't see much about differences between men and women in this regard--he seemed to place them (implicitly) on more or less even ground.
Environmental Sensibility
Gregory seems to have had a pretty Platonic idea of nature--that the world was formed from "ideas" in God that manifest themselves through physical qualities outside of God. Therefore, the essence of nature doesn't really exist (i.e. isn't tangible or available to us). Only its qualities. So I'd assume his care for creation was minimal.
Heretical Tendencies:
He spoke out against heretics like Apollinarius and Eunomius. But he did get a lot of his ideas from Origen, who was actually a heretic. So he toes the line a bit.
General Badassery:
I don't know anything especially bad-ass about him. But he did have a heck of a lot of influential correspondence, and he does do a lot of interesting work with Origen's thought. I think he gets the short end of the Cappadocian stick, but he shouldn't!

And a quote:
“Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.”